Over the past eight months, where and how we live has got onto everyone’s agenda. Our team is used to spending all day every day thinking about how to create outstanding places where people can thrive.
This is now a global concern; more of us are working from home, socialising locally and seeing our places through fresh eyes as settings where we need to do more things more of the time (and at a social distance).
Developers, including our housing association partners, are under a microscope, needing to contribute more to cities in a way that builds on what we’ve learned this year. For me, the solution has always been clear: partnerships. As the proverb says: ‘If you want to go fast go alone; if you want to go far go together.’
We recently became the GLA’s partner in a first-of-its-kind tie-up with a private developer. Together, we are seeking to address London’s housing crisis by creating 1,400 homes by the end of Q1 2025, at least 50% of them affordable.
But our partnership is far deeper, working on a cultural as well as an investment level. Earlier this month, we launched the first tranche of our Makers & Mentors scheme, backed by the mayor of London. This is designed to foster connections across our industry and level the playing field of opportunity through mentoring. I feel proud that more than 100 partners and friends have volunteered their time. Considering the immense breadth of industry experience available for mentees to tap into, I feel very excited about the potential it could unleash; we learn best when we’re curious, connected and open to input from people different to ourselves.
As a business, we work in joint ventures with housing associations that share our vision for outstanding places and appreciate our skills in getting things done. That is the partnership philosophy that informs Makers & Mentors, too.
Mount Anvil has been developing in London for 30 years, building partnerships with boroughs and housing associations. Together, we have developed thousands of high-quality homes and enhanced the tapestry of London.
So much of what we do is in repeat partnerships - if we don’t deliver, we don’t endure
The truest measure of our success is that so much of what we do is in repeat partnerships – if we don’t deliver, we don’t endure.
We stick to a modest number of big schemes at one time – five to eight partnerships that our best people can obsess over and invest in – rather than being spread across loads of schemes in search of rapid growth. So far, we have weathered recessions, the fall of governments, sterling crises, dotcom bubbles and now a pandemic.
We’ll get through tough economic times with our partners, because in tough times there is a flight to quality. Our partnership model, where focused teams work towards shared goals, protects quality better than any other. We are a proudly private, owner-managed business, the majority of our team are shareholders and we have been profitable for 30 years.
When we succeed, our partners succeed: this year, of our £22.7m of 2019 profit, £17m has been paid to partners – the bulk of them housing associations. We plan to deliver with and for them a further £94m profit in the next three years. These profits will support more affordable homes in London as we strive for the rising tide to lift all boats and keep London a diverse and vibrant city. Some developers flee London in tough times. But we are all-in and believe the city will thrive if we prioritise people, places and then profit.
Killian Hurley is chief executive of Mount Anvil
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